March 21, 2023
Ikea is expanding the use of autonomous inventory-counting drones, with a fleet of 100 now counting stock at the retailer’s warehouses.
The news was announced by Ingka, the legal entity behind Ikea, and demonstrated in an accompanying video.
The drones are made by autonomous indoor drone specialist Verity, which Ingka first collaborated with two years ago to develop autonomous drones for stock accuracy and inventory tracking.
Ingka said the solution supports a “more ergonomic workplace” as it takes the physically intensive task of manually checking pallets away from human workers.
“We are investing in technology across the board so that our stores can better support customer fulfillment and become true centers for omnichannel retailing,” said Ingka head of retail Tolga Öncu. “Introducing drones and other advanced tools – such as, for example, robots for picking up goods – is a genuine win-win for everybody. It improves our co-workers’ well-being, lowers operational costs and allows us to become more affordable and convenient for our customers.”
The autonomous drones were first deployed in Ikea Switzerland in 2021 and they are now in operation at 16 different locations in Belgium, Croatia, Slovenia, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.
“Being at the forefront when it comes to innovative and value-adding solutions is part of the Ikea heritage,” said Ikea head of innovations in logistics and fulfillment Peter Ac. “We are always curious to learn from others and this project is a great example of how we have collaborated across Ikea and together with an external partner come up with a solution that we all benefit from.”
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